July 2018 Archives

Facebook, Twitter Say Europe's Privacy Law Causing User Drop - Bloomberg

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By  and 

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Amid a plummeting share price, Facebook Inc. wants panicked investors to believe Europe's strict General Data Protection Regulation is to blame for fewer people using the social network in the region. EU lawmakers disagree.

The new law came into force on May 25 and forced companies that hold data on EU citizens to obtain "unambiguous" consent to collect personal information. Facebook knows a lot about what people are interested in, and makes that audience easily available to advertisers. That's fueled rapid revenue growth, billions of dollars in profit, and a surging stock price in recent years.

More than $100 billion of those market gains were wiped out Thursday after Facebook reported sales and user growth numbers that disappointed Wall Street. The company lost about 1 million of European monthly active users in the second quarter, leaving it with 376 million. Daily users fell more. Chief Financial Officer David Wehner blamed the decline on the GDPR roll out.

"We saw the declines that we anticipated from GDPR," he said. "And I would say there, really, those impacts were purely due to the GDPR impact, not other engagement trends."

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BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS

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Updated: The attorneys general of New Jersey and Pennsylvania are seeking to block a Texas company from publishing its blueprints online to make guns from 3D printers.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal sent a cease-and-desist letter on Thursday while Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro obtained an emergency federal court hearing on Sunday.

Defense Distributed agreed at the hearing to temporarily block internet users in Pennsylvania from using its blueprint website, report PennLive and the Washington Post.

According to Shapiro's press release, Defense Distributed also agreed not to upload any new gun files to its sites after disclosing in court that it had begun distributing gun files on Friday.

The company had said it wouldn't make its blueprints available until Aug. 1. But 1,000 people had already downloaded 3D plans for AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifles by Sunday, according to Shapiro.

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Audits by Mail-What to Do? - IRS

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This new IRS YouTube video explains what to do if your client receives a letter from the IRS stating his tax return is being audited by mail: https://youtu.be/FfzLRKP0U7s.




The District Court for the Northern District of New York will be accepting applications for new mediators pursuant to the District's Mandatory Mediation Program - General Order#47. Attorneys interested in becoming a mediator may apply during the months of August, September and October.  The application will be posted on our website beginning August 1st. Court approved hourly rates are $150 per hour for the first two hours of the initial mediation session.  If necessary, the mediator may charge an additional $150/hour for up to two hours of preparation time for cases which require substantial preparation.  Thereafter, the rate is capped at $325 per hour.

For additional information please see General Order #47 on our website at www.nynd.uscourts.gov

An Old Scam With a New Twist - The New York Times

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By J. D. Biersdorfer


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Q. I just got an email message from someone claiming to be a hacker who broke into my computer and used my webcam to watch me looking at adult websites. 

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Yelp for Cops | The Marshall Project

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By SIMONE WEICHSELBAUM

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In April, the NYPD informally introduced its public opinion monitor, also known as the "sentiment meter," during CompStat, the weekly meetings in which top brass interrogate precinct commanders about crime trends. Precincts now receive a monthly "trust score" along with rankings that measure overall satisfaction with police performance and how safe residents feel. The data is culled from questionnaires administered through about 50,000 smartphone apps, including Candy Crush and WeatherBug, as well as traditional landline calls. Facebook and Instagram began to advertise links to the surveys in June.

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BY LORELEI LAIRD

ABA President Hilarie Bass has posted a short video asking America's lawyers to help reunite immigrant families at the border.

In the video, Bass talks about what she saw during her late June trip to south Texas, where she met with immigrant mothers detained at the Port Isabel Detention Center near Harlingen. Some of those women hadn't seen their children in six weeks, Bass said; some had talked to their children on the phone, but knew the children were far away.

But what really disturbed Bass, she said, was that all of them would give up their asylum claims and return to the violence they're fleeing if it meant their children would be returned.

"That caused me great consternation, because these people are giving up their legal rights just to have the right to get their children back," Bass says in the video. "I think as lawyers, we have to do everything possible to assist these victims of this policy."

Bass then directed lawyers to http://ambar.org/immigrationjustice, a new ABA web page that aggregates opportunities for interested lawyers to volunteer, advocate or donate to help separated and detained families.


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BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS

Four states filed a lawsuit Tuesday that contends the $10,000 cap on federal tax deductions for state and local taxes is unprecedented and unconstitutional.

The states of New York, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey filed the lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan, report the Wall Street JournalForbes and Courthouse News Service. A press release is here.


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July 5th, 2018 Decision of NYS Court for NY County, Justice Rakower

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Decision and order of Justice Rakower annulling NYS Insurance Regulation 208.  Appeal by NYS in process; but no stay issued to date.

Just the Facts: Americans with Disabilities Act | United States Courts

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While overall civil rights cases have declined, cases brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have increased three-fold in recent years. Filings in three states - California, Florida, and New York - account for a significant number of the civil rights cases filed under the ADA. 

Learn more about this in the new installment of Just the Facts.


What Your Email Address Says About Your Law Practice - Technologist

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By George Khoury, Esq. 

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When you see another lawyer's email address, do you judge them on it? If not, you might start after reading this.

Apparently, some lawyers believe that the @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, @hotmail.com, or @aol.com accounts should be kept personal, and that a lawyer's email address should always be an @your-law-firm-name-here.com type address. However, this belief isn't always correct, and could lead many lawyers down a primrose path of being hacked for using a garbage email client that lacks adequate security.

Fortunately, thanks to the modern times we live in, email addresses can be quickly and easily changed. Below you'll find a few tips on whether you need to be shopping for a new email.

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BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS


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President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order eliminating the exam and competitive hiring process for administrative law judges.

The order gives agency chiefs the power to hire administrative law judges according to their own standards. The process will be similar to the way agencies hire executive branch attorneys, according to a press releasePoliticoGovExecNPRand the Washington Post have stories.

About 1,900 administrative law judges work for the federal government, and all but about 300 of them work for the Social Security Administration, according to the Post

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Jenavieve Hatch


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The Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime sets federal funding aside to assist crime victims, including the victims of human trafficking. Up until this month, in addition to services like health care, education and employment, the funds also covered legal representation ― which human trafficking victims have used to get their criminal records expunged or dismissed. More than 90 percent of human trafficking victims are arrested for crimes like prostitution, truancy or drug possession when they are being trafficked.

But the most recent iteration of the Office for Victims of Crime's budget, released on June 25, added new language:

"OVC funding may not be used for criminal defense services," it reads. "Direct representation on vacatur or expungement matters through court filings or through other litigation services, is NOT an allowable cost under this cooperative agreement or with FY 2018 funds."

Assistance in paying for legal aid is essential to victims' recovery process, wrote more than 100 trafficking survivors in a letter to the OVC on Friday.

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Beyond Citation - Critical Thinking About Digital Research

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EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY

Last featured in the 11-11-2016 Scout Report, Beyond Citation is a valuable resource for librarians, scholars, instructors, and students. By allowing visitors to quickly learn about popular datasets, Beyond Citation offers an important service for researchers in all academic disciplines.

Researchers, students, and instructors use academic databases to find scholarship on topics of interest. Yet, it is difficult to get information about how these databases work and what materials are included in - or left out of - them. In response to this challenge, a group of students in a digital praxis seminar at the City University of New York (CUNY) created Beyond Citation, a website dedicated to providing the public with information and analysis about major academic search engines. As of this writing, Beyond Citation features explorations of thirteen major databases, including Google Books, Project MUSE, HathiTrust Digital Library, JSTOR, and ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Each database record includes an overview outlining what the database contains, available reviews of each database, and information about access. In addition, readers will also find a useful conversations feature, which offers links to outside analysis and criticism about the selected database. Beyond Citation not only helps researchers critically evaluate databases but also teaches researchers how to use these databases most effectively.

Copyright © 2017 Internet Scout Research Group - http://scout.wisc.edu


Lawsuit to claw back union dues filed after Janus decision--ABA Journal

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BY JASON TASHEA

Seven California teachers have filed a class action lawsuit to win back paid union fees in light of last month's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that nonconsenting public-sector employees cannot be compelled to pay union dues.

The Recorder reported Tuesday that attorney John Bursch of Bursch Law in Grand Rapids, Michigan has filed nearly two-dozen such cases throughout the country in light of the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME. "The lawsuit we filed is a refund of the fees that were illegally extracted," Bursch told the Recorder. He also told the Recorder that some of his lawsuits predated the Janus decision.


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Siri heckles UK defense secretary in parliamentary debate

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A British Member of Parliament has demonstrated the issues of having the 'Hey Siri' function active during meetings, by suddenly being heckled by his iPhone while addressing his peers in the UK House of Commons on Tuesday. 

Emergency Law Inventory | Home

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The Emergency Law Inventory, a CDC funded project, collects and simplifies the laws volunteers need and want to know.

Identifying legal issues and accessing laws can be difficult, even for lawyers. Although many laws are available on the internet, how can volunteers identify those impacting them specifically? How can they be sure all of the laws relevant to their activities are identified? And how do they know if the laws are updated and current?

ELI-V removes these barriers and gives users clear, concise summaries of those laws impacting participation in emergency activities. The laws are searchable by profession and jurisdiction so users can identify the provisions that impact them specifically.


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